Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday all Virginians must wear face coverings while inside public places, including retail shops, restaurants and barbershops.
That deal starts Friday.
“They don’t need to be medical grade,” Northam said. “You can make your own.”
Most of Virginia entered Phase 1 on May 15 which allowed some non-essential businesses, restaurants, nail salons and other businesses to open with restrictions.
Northam visited the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on Memorial Day weekend, prompting backlash from the public because he wasn’t wearing a mask and was taking selfies with “well wishers.”
Northam said he went to Virginia Beach to visit the mayor, thank first responders and talk to the media in open air while maintaining social distancing. He didn’t expect people to take pictures with him — he said he had left his mask in the car and he wanted to accommodate them.
“I take full responsibility for that,” Northam said.
He noted Virginia Beach had no large crowds and performed well. State officials are working with other cities like Hampton and Norfolk as they prepare to open their beaches this weekend.
In terms of the mask mandate, Northam said the Virginia Department of Health will enforce it, not the police. Executive Order 63 will require workers in most settings to wear masks for their protection and the Department of Labor and Industries is establishing new workplace standards.
There are 36,342 positive cases of the coronavirus and 1,236 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s website. The African American population has 5,643 cases and 253 deaths while the Latino population has 12,354 cases and 106 deaths.
Here are the local numbers:
- 10 years and older.
- Worn inside.
- Exceptions: Eating or drinking, exercising, trouble breathing and health conditions.
- Enforcement: Warnings. Businesses that don’t adopt the policy could get their operating license pulled after a warning.
Northam said it’s not about punishing people; his goal is to promote safety.
“This is not just about me,” he said. “This is about all Virginians and it’s about their public safety so I will continue to offer guidelines as to what’s in everybody’s’ best interests.”
Public settings include:
- Personal care and grooming businesses.
- Essential and non-essential brick and mortar retail including grocery stores and pharmacies.
- Food and beverage establishments.
- Entertainment or public amusement establishments when permitted to open.
- Train stations, bus stations, and on intrastate public transportation, including in waiting or congregating areas.
- State and local government buildings and areas where the public accesses services.
- Any indoor space shared by groups of people who may congregate within six feet of one another or who are in close proximity to each other for more than 10 minutes.
YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO CHECK OUT THESE STORIES:
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- Phase 1: Restaurants, hotels prepare to reopen as coronavirus cases continue to go up
- Will tourism make a comeback as businesses reopen?
- Here’s how some area restaurants are coping with the coronavirus outbreak